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4 How to Maintain a Consistent Brand Identity Across Social Networks

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing – enjoy this post from Xavier Davis

When social media marketing first began it was rather easy to maintain a consistent brand identity. This was due in large part to the fact that there were only a few social networks. Oh, how things have changed! Today it is common, if not necessary, for business to be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Youtube — just to name a few. Each one of these networks provides businesses access to a unique demographic of current and potential customers.

The strategies required to excel on each of these networks is very different, which creates a dilemma. How can a business maintain a consistent brand identity while active on several, very different, social networks? We are going to dive into this dilemma and figure out how to master a consistent brand identity on social media!

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Understanding your business’s audience is the most important aspect of social media marketing success. It is nearly impossible to have any success if you are blindly posting without first understanding who your audience is, why they are following you and how your business can bring value to them. Imagine putting on an amazing heavy metal rock concert only to find out the audience was hoping to hear classical music. It is also important to keep in mind the audiences for each social network are different. For example, LinkedIn users will expect content to be more professional than Twitter users. Sharing the same content, but in a form that is appropriate for the specific network is crucial for success.

Create a Familiar Look

Before you even worry about posting, make sure your business looks the same on your different social networks. Each social network has a different layout, but make sure items such as your profile image and bio are consistent. If possible, your social accounts should be consistent with your company website as well.

Choose a Brand Voice

How will your business interact? Will you use a lot of humor? Respond using we or I? There is not a right or wrong way to approach brand voice, other than it should be consistent. Your brand’s voice should also reflect your business as a whole. Social media is about showing off who your business is, so try to embody it in your voice. Understanding your audience should also make it easier to decide what type of voice your brand should have. Do you have a favorite business you follow on social media? Study their brand voice and see if you can apply aspects of it to your brand’s social media presence.

Post Consistently

Creating a consistent brand identity requires consistent posting habits. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Nothing hurts a business more than creating social media accounts and then not posting to them. If a potential customer searches for your business on Facebook and sees that you have not posted in a month, they could easily assume you went out of business. Terrible, right? Investing in a social media management tool will help you to plan out posts ahead of time and make sure that your brand is posting consistently.

Repurpose Content 

Time is such a crucial asset for small businesses. Repurposing content WILL save you time! Repurposing content is taking existing content and putting a spin on it. Most of the time required for creating content is spent researching facts, finding relevant pictures, etc. Why put in all that work and then only use it once? Review some of the content you have already created and see if you can repurpose it! One example would be turning a text-based blog post into an infographic. You can use all the same statistics, but visual content will resonate with a new audience. Another example would be turning that epic “List of Amazing Facts About…” blog post you wrote into smaller, more in-depth posts.

Final Thoughts

Being consistent at anything in life requires proper preparation, active experimentation and commitment by everyone that is involved. Make sure anyone that will be a part of your social media efforts is trained to understand how to maintain your business’s identity. When a business is noticeably consistent, customers begin to trust them and want to buy from them!

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.31.48 PMXavier Davis is the Social Media Superhero at eClincher, a single platform which allows businesses to efficiently manage and track social media and website activities with insightful, actionable, and meaningful real-time reports. Companies can view, plan, manage and analyze social media activity and online advertising campaigns and, crucially, understand the impact of that activity on the business website. When Xavier takes off the cape, he can be found watching basketball, playing Xbox or enjoying the outdoors.

15 It's Not a Business It's an Ecosystem

Credit: Audibon Wyoming

I’ve owned a small business for over 25 years and in that time I’ve changed, my business has certainly changed, tools and tactics have changed and, in typical small business fashion, I believe I’ve handily adapted to the ebb and flow and lived to go at it another day.

When you grind away, adding this and that, and taking advantage of each little shift in strategy as single events, it pretty much feels like gradual change, hardly noticeable at times.

However, as I step back and take in the entire journey that’s been the last few years I can see that the aggregate amount of change in the way I go to work has altered the very existence of what I’ve called my business.

Today I don’t go to work in a business so much as I cultivate an ecosystem.

Now, I don’t write that to sound like some grand or pompous bit of consultant jargon, I write it as a realization of what I think it takes to survive and grow in this day and age.

It is no longer enough to make a great product or service, promote it and read the P and L to see if you made any headway.

Several factors come in to play in this notion of building an ecosystem over building a business:

  • Our markets have never had more access to real time information, yet never had less time or attention to consume our messages
  • Social behavior has become a business expectation and means of communication rather than a business tactic
  • Almost every service, solution, product or idea can be acquired for free, the market now only pays for an experience

Given those factors, I believe that even the simplest business ecosystem must include:

  • A strategic emphasis on building a collaboration community around prospects, customers, suppliers, partners and competitors
  • A commitment to the publishing of concepts, ideas and methodologies in every size, shape and format
  • The packaging of content in both free and premium models that leverage a market’s desired consumption devices
  • The development of products that support services and services that support products
  • A leadership brand that can build and tell stories and a commitment to get in front of audiences
  • The building of personalized hubs of communities in the social spaces where our markets hang out
  • The construction of a formal network of partners that provide every product and service our markets need
  • The Fusion of online and offline tactics as a way to create more convenient, yet highly personal engagement

And, hanging somewhere above the ecosystem, much like the atmosphere, is the overarching need for a simple, inspirational, purpose driven vision that drives the system and runs through every story, hire, decision, message and brand asset.

18 The Three Natural Phases of Successful Small Business Growth

growing a businessI’ve owned a small business for many years and have worked with thousands of small business along the way and I’ve come to sense what feel like natural states of successful small business growth.

A common small business plight is the frustrating cycle of expansion and contraction. I believe this not simply due to the cycle of markets, but more often due to the lack of strategy and proper expectation around planned growth.

I think business owners need to think about growth a lot like a parent thinks about the growth and maturation of a child. But, many simply dive in and try to do things they are not ready to do, lacking the proper foundation of an ideal market, core message and systems and processes necessary to deliver a thrilling customer experience. Now, depending upon a series of what I like to call “success factors,” things such as experience, resources, and networks, some business owners are able to move through these phases much more rapidly, but successful, long-term growth comes from moving in this same fashion no matter what.

Every business should look at progressing through as least three phases (although it’s never quite this linear)

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34 Business Isn't Personal

Personal BrandingI’m going to express an opinion that might not be shared by all in this current social media world.

There’s a thread going around in small business about something called personal branding and, while I think it has merit and can certainly give some people a leg up on the competition, please don’t confuse personal branding with building a business.

Again, when a person creates a brand that allows them to stand out, they may be able to charge more for their services or get higher profile gigs, but what they’ve created is a job. (In some cases that’s the grand payoff of a personal brand, a better job.)

Now, I’m not against personal branding, as I said it may offer some people that ability to create the best job going, but a business is an asset, something that gets more valuable over time and, here’s the biggie, can be sold. It is very difficult to sell a personal brand. Some of biggest personal brands you could name on twitter right now would be worth very little without the person behind the avatar.

It’s really not a right way or wrong way, it’s a strategic choice, but know the consequences of the choice. Funny thing is it’s actually easier to build a personal brand online than it is to build a business brand and that’s where some people get tripped up. It’s a balancing act that must be intentionally orchestrated and gradually implemented.

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